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Crustal evolution, intra-cratonic architecture and the metallogeny of an Archaean craton

By
D. R. Mole
D. R. Mole
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, AustraliaCurrent address: Department of Applied Geology, Curtin University, GPO Box 1987, Perth WA 6845, Australia
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M. L. Fiorentini
M. L. Fiorentini
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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K. F. Cassidy
K. F. Cassidy
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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C. L. Kirkland
C. L. Kirkland
Geological Survey of Western Australia, 100 Plain Street, East Perth 6004, Australia
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N. Thebaud
N. Thebaud
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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T. C. McCuaig
T. C. McCuaig
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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M. P. Doublier
M. P. Doublier
Geological Survey of Western Australia, 100 Plain Street, East Perth 6004, Australia
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P. Duuring
P. Duuring
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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S. S. Romano
S. S. Romano
Geological Survey of Western Australia, 100 Plain Street, East Perth 6004, Australia
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R. Maas
R. Maas
School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia
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E. A. Belousova
E. A. Belousova
ARC Key Centre for the Geochemical Evolution and Metallogeny of Continents (GEMOC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
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S. J. Barnes
S. J. Barnes
CSIRO Earth Science & Resource Engineering, 26 Dick Perry Ave, Kensington 6151, Australia
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J. Miller
J. Miller
Centre for Exploration Targeting, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, Perth, Australia
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Published:
January 01, 2015

Abstract

The generation of the Earth’s continental crust modified the composition of the mantle and provided a stable, buoyant reservoir capable of capturing mantle material and ultimately preserving ore deposits. Within the continental crust, lithospheric architecture and associated cratonic margins are a first-order control on camp-scale mineralization. Here we show that the evolving crustal architecture of the Archaean Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, played a key role in controlling the localization of camp-scale gold, iron and nickel mineralized systems. The age and source characteristics of Archaean lithosphere are heterogeneous in both space and time and are recorded by the varying Nd isotopic signature of crustal rocks. Spatial and temporal variations in isotopic character document the evolution of an intra-cratonic architecture through time, and in doing so map transient lithospheric discontinuities where gold, nickel and iron mineral systems were concentrated. Komatiite-hosted nickel deposits cluster into camps localized within young, juvenile crust at the isotopic margin with older lithosphere; orogenic gold systems are typically localized along major structures within juvenile crust; and banded iron formation (BIF)-hosted iron deposits are localized at the edge of, and within, older lithospheric blocks. Furthermore, this work shows that crustal evolution plays an important role in the development and localization of favourable sources of nickel, gold and iron by controlling the occurrence of thick BIFs, ultramafic lavas and fertile (juvenile) crust, respectively. Fundamentally, this study demonstrates that the lithospheric architecture of a craton can be effectively imaged by isotopic techniques and used to identify regions prospective for camp-scale mineralization.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Ore Deposits in an Evolving Earth

G. R. T. Jenkin
G. R. T. Jenkin
University of Leicester, UK
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P. A. J. Lusty
P. A. J. Lusty
British Geological Survey, UK
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I. Mcdonald
I. Mcdonald
Cardiff University, UK
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M. P. Smith
M. P. Smith
University of Brighton, UK
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A. J. Boyce
A. J. Boyce
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, UK
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J. J. Wilkinson
J. J. Wilkinson
Natural History Museum and Imperial College London, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
393
ISBN electronic:
9781862396692
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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